Posted: April 19th, 2017

an international peacekeeping operation or conflict involving the international community (like Syria or the dispute over the Senkaku islands)

Papers should be 5-7 pages long, not including a title page or  bibliography. Paper topics should be a contemporary issue or problem in international affairs. Possible paper topics might include the problem of international piracy, an international peacekeeping operation or conflict involving the international community (like Syria or the dispute over the Senkaku islands), efforts to reform the UN Security Council, the global impact of the recent economic crisis, recent efforts on global climate change (Copenhagen and beyond), the future of NATO, nuclear proliferation, etc.. In addition to containing your thesis statement, the introduction should also inform the reader about what will follow in the remainder of the paper. Let the reader know what major points you will address in making your case. Think of the introduction as providing a road map for the reader. The reader should not be surprised at the destination where he or she winds up when the paper ends!

Papers should begin with 2-3 introductory paragraphs that contain a thesis. The thesis is the argument that your paper will make or the question that your paper will attempt to answer. No matter what question or issue your paper addresses, it is crucial that you make an argument and defend it. Your thesis should make it clear what position you will be taking in your paper. Check out this resource for writing a strong thesis . In choosing a topic, please do not choose one of the topics that we have already read about in Snow unless you can bring a new angle to it. Before you begin your paper please let me know what topic you have selected. I may be able to offer you suggestions.

The rest of the paper should be devoted to providing support for your thesis statement. It may be helpful to organize the paper using substantive headings.

The paper should end with a conclusion that restates your central thesis and reviews the evidence. Conclusions are also an opportunity for you to make predictions about the future developments concerning your topic.

The paper should have a bibliography containing at least six sources. Students should make use of the library’s databases to find at least 3 of their sources. The library has compiled a research guide website for this class  It will help direct you to library databases and other sources related to international relations. Good sources for an international relations paper include the New York Times, the Economist magazine, as well as the journals Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, International Security, Current History, CQ Researcher and CQ Global Researcher.  These are all electronically available from the Columbia College library. The International Crisis Group and Global Policy are also great resources.


All citations should be in APA style. For examples of how to cite works for your bibliography check out the Center for Academic Excellence website. You may also use the sample entries at the bottom of this page as a guide. They are based on the style manual of the American Political Science Association.

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